Semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are difficult enough to handle under normal circumstances. They’re incredibly heavy. Cargo on the truck can shift. The length of the truck makes it hard to see vehicles behind the truck and to the right of the truck. On top of that, making turns is very difficult. That’s why drivers need a valid commercial driver’s license before they can operate the truck.
Bad weather such as heavy rains or fog make it especially difficult for even the most accomplished driver to see. Drivers of other vehicles also need to be able to see the truck while they’re driving, or they can easily crash into the truck.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that commercial trucks use reflective tape, also called conspicuity tape or retroreflective tape, in order to increase visibility. The tape is typically a red and white pattern that is placed on certain parts of the truck and the trailer. The key locations are:
- The sides of the trailer
- The upper and lower rear of the trailer
- The rear of the truck
The tape should reflect light when its foggy or dark, so drivers don’t run into the rear of the trailer or fail to see the truck when they’re passing or merging.
The tape works
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the tape helps save lives and prevent injuries. Yearly, NHTSA estimates that truck-trailer combinations that use the tape will prevent between 191 and 350 wrongful deaths, prevent up to 5,000 injuries, and stop 7,8000 crashes compared to fleets without the tape. They also found:
- When it’s dark, dawn or dusk, the tape reduces rear and side collisions by 29%
- The reflective tape works best in “dark-not-lighted conditions”
- During dark conditions, the tape is especially effective at preventing injury crashes
- The reflective tape works best when the driver of the other vehicle (the one that strikes the truck with the tape) is young – under 50 years of age
- The tape works very well on flatbed trailers
Truck companies and manufacturers are working on other visibility remedies such as 360-degree vision cameras with transmit visual data to the drive. There is a counter-concern, though, that too much information can be distracting.
A common-sense remedy when the visibility is bad is to simply slow down or get off the road until the weather clears.
Truck drivers who cause an accident when visibility is poor should be held accountable for any pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income due to their negligence. Truck companies who specifically fail to use the reflective tape and who fail to monitor their drivers during bad weather may be liable as well. At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, our Nashville truck accident lawyers have a strong reputation for holding wrongdoers accountable for all the harm they cause. We serve injury victims and their families in Nashville, Hendersonville, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, and throughout Tennessee. Please call us at 615-425-2500 or complete our contact form to discuss your case.
Nashville personal injury attorney Rocky McElhaney is a well-known and respected lawyer as well as published author, helping Tennesseans through difficult times since the turn of the century. Rocky builds friendships with his clients, not just professional relationships. Rocky McElhaney is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell, has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has been awarded Best Lawyer in Nashville by the Nashville Scene Readers’ Poll
The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm represents people who have been injured by car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, negligent premises owners, defective products and many other forms of negligence throughout the state of Tennessee. The firm also represents clients in the areas of workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability claims.